On Liminal Truths Ignored & Forgotten

It has been a  few days since I have posted. In part because I worked on a couple of the pages here, making sure they were up to date or more clear, and making a list of more I need to work on.

I was also ill, and then, of course, I needed a break from the constant onslaught of yet more shitty news coming fro the shitty person who is manipulating the country, keeping it unbalanced as he dismantles the power of the nation in the name of making it great.

Every day, thee seems to be a fresh new outrage. There is a limit to the amount of outrage that people can feel, and as each fresh hell emerges, more and more of us fall away, exhausted and numbed by it in the same way that if you beat a person enough, they finally stop feeling the beatings.

There is a reason that violence on minority communities sparks such instant and vocal rage — they have lived with it for centuries, and are numb to the daily reverberations of harm done against them.

Here we are, not even a month, and we have three years, 11 months, and a few days more of this. People speak to the first 100 days as key, and they are certain to be such here, but that first 100 days is going to leave us so damaged that to many who have experience of this, all that can come of this is either war or a totalitarian regime under martial law followed by war.

There is a palpable glee among those who seek to dismantle the United States and its long standing principle of commitment to human rights — the work of decades is bearing fruit, and they can be so petulant when they lose that they will actively attempt to make it impossible for those coming after them to undo anything they have done — as one state did when it lost a governor hated — *hated* — by the populace for the damage he had done.

Yet one thing constantly startles me for a moment, and then fades into the background with all the other examples of it that I have come to expect and yet still be startled by.

The ideal that those of us on the left strive for — if we are honest — is Human Rights for all people.  The ending of things like racism, misogyny, poverty, transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, and so forth and so on.

Yet when things are going against us, we tend to forget that is what we are fighting for, and especially when it comes to white folks, and I don’t say that as yet another thing about  white people.

I say it because the people I see doing it most often are, factually, white people.

This thing is us using misogyny.  Us using racism.  Us using transphobia. Us revealing how quickly and readily we reveal these ideals of ours to be little more than lip service when we are angry.

Some of you will condemn the violence at Berkeley, citing the Reverend King and Ghandi and the idea of Nonviolence.  I have even seen it condemned by people who will say that all violence is bad, without recognizing that violence is what is being done.

I see people becoming desperate to avoid engaging in politics because they feel as if anything they say or post is wrong — and not stp to examine why they keep running into these things where they find themselves wrong, avoiding how the very world and system they have grown up in has made them unaware of how they are being manipulated by a series of commercials and crises that all seek to make the unpalatable acceptable and, in some cases, even desirable.

Memes are advertising, and people do not realize that, for example, because who has ever told them that is what memes are?  TO them, a meme is just a funny things, harmless and silly, and yet memes are crafted carefully and promoted widely and shared instantly, capitalizing on our own ignorance and anger.

Yes, we have found ourselves reduced to a world where a photo with a few words or a soundbite of 140 characters is considered a great way to express profound and complicated ideas that experts have never been able to reduce in such a simplistic way for a good reason.

But we can undo that. Collectively.

What we seem to have the hardest time undoing is our own complicity in the systems of abuse and harm that we have lived in, and those who are most complicit are those who are white, and as much as I genuinely want to say that isn’t the case, I cannot.

Right now, on FaceBook there are twenty seven posts that have gone by my eyes in the last eight hours, all loaded with transphobia and misogyny; full bore, overt stuff of the kind that the very same people would condemn and defame a Regressive fascist for saying (and, in most cases, did, just yesterday).

The topic? Kellyanne Conway. Comments meant to strip her of any real sense of success in bringing fascism to the White House that are not based on her willingness to defraud, lie, cheat, steal, and so forth, but rather are about her appearance, her choices of clothing, and all the other oppression tropes we see used against all women, constantly, and that we, in turn, scream holy hell about.

Yes, she is an utterly horrendous person, but when we do that, I look at people and I think “I cannot trust you”. Because if they will say that about her, they will say it about me, and that, in turn tells me a serious truth I truly hate to think.

Most of the don’t really care about misogyny. They care about being seen as better people.

And when they do things like that, they are not being seen as better people. They are being seen as incompetent tools of the very thing they supposedly fight against.

I am not excluding myself when I say this.  It took me stopping in the middle of sharing a meme created by “Occupy Democrats” because I am looking at this and thinking, holy shit, this *exact thing was said about me* because I spoke out against iDJiT.

Then I took a longer look, and I saw just how many of these memes where that way, and I realized holy shit — I was doing this.  Me. The nasty woman who is known for being nasty, known for going against the grain.

The woman who has said she is entering a fight with haters and applying the principle of do unto others as they have done unto you — not “as you would have them do unto you”.

In short, no, I am not nice that way.  Yes, I dehumanize iDJiT, and I have vowed never to use his name. I cop to this.  I do the same to Pud, but I will use his name.  If you come at me and say to me “hey, Dyss, that shit is pretty shitty” I will say to you “yeah, it is.”

because I recognize it as such. But these people I am talking about, they do not recognize it They get angry at me for pointing it out, they become defensive about their doing it and deny it and do not acknoweldge it as being wrong.

Even though, by their own claims, it is very wrong.

Part of why they do that is because they have internalized much of this — it was what they were taught, how they were brought up, something as functionally a part of them as their taste in shoes.

Unexamined, unremarked, unabashed.

Another part of why they do it is that anger that they feel, that need to lash out, to strike, to extract some thin sense of emotional release at the harm they do in self defense.

It is the “die in a fire” response of the harmed, the screaming in the face of the person who just stomped on your foot, and I totally get the need to do so…

… but I still no longer trust you to live up to your own standards, your own goals, your own claims of how you think people need to be.

Truth is, “die in a fire, Kellyanne Conway” is a better response than saying “omg, look at her! She is so ugly it looks like someone dragged a grader over her face with the spikes down” — a statement which intends to insult her as a person not because of the content of her character, but because of the aesthetic of her appearance.

The symbolism of those words is, obviously, not accidental.

So, let me explain something to my white friends, that you need to understand and I keep getting pushback on or ignored over.

When asked about the involvement of white people, I talk about Risk.

Recently, Yemeni Bodega Owners in NYC  shut down in a mass protest and show of solidarity. These bodegas are critical links in the daily lives of millions of people.

People are closing their businesses. In doing so, they sacrifice income that they often need, not only for themselves but for their families overseas.

They are also taking a risk because the simple act of doing this makes those who hate think they are Yemeni — they are now seen as “illegals” — a disparaging term in and of itself that is rife with racism and xenophobia. So now their shops are targets for vandalism, and worse.

Not just today. Going forward — potentially for months.

The same applies for people of color, for the disabled, differently abled, lgbt people, and all the other groups subjected to risk *that are not white*.

That last part is important — because the moment you are white, your personal risk drops precipitously, even if you are also one of those other things.

If you have money, it insulates you further, and most of the money in the country is indeed in the hands of white people.

What the rest of us want from you is that risk. That sacrifice, and the first thing we ask is that you make a space at the table for all of us in our messy, complicated, “ridiculous” diversity.

Because we fight these kinds of battles every single day, even when we do not want to have to do so, and we have been more successful at it and know more about it than you do.

The second thing is that you need to be willing to place your work, your job, your life, at the same risk as those Yemeni families doing it.

Put yourself at risk. Scary risk. Because if you are not scared — for your family and kids and home and job and money and all the rest of it — then you are not doing enough.

And that is the real thing we ask of you — do more. Because we cannot do it without you.

It was the White vote that put him in office, and it will be the white vote that gets him and his fascist Republican congress critters out.

For at least another few years…

All of which is not to say that People of color and other minorities are immune to this, or not doing it.  They are. We have always done it.

This is why Audre Lorde  — a black lesbian feminist — said that famous line oft quoted.

The Master’s Tools cannot bring down the Master’s House.  Because people were using misogyny against women who were being racist, homophobia against people being misogynists, and so forth.

The use of oppressive systems and tools itself does not combat oppression — it further strengthens it.

It makes it harder to fight, and perpetuates it, and so makes things worse.

Many people see Civil War as a likely result int he next few years on the left — a concept and idea that was floated even more widely on the right over the last 8 years.

CalExit is being pushed for and backed by Republican supporters of the iDJiT, for example, and suddenly they have liberal support that is reactionary, and forgetting the simple truth that our strength and ability to resist comes from solidarity, not from falling apart when faced with a horrorshow.

Solidarity which is threatened when we forget, in our righteous anger, that we oppose misogyny and homophobia and transphobia and racism and the rest.

let me repeat that, for those in the back…

Solidarity which is threatened when we forget, in our righteous anger, that we oppose misogyny and homophobia and transphobia and racism and the rest.

So, how is this liminal?

Liminality is the state of being one thing and not being that one thing at the same time. It is a contradictory concept, like dissonance in music, and sometimes it can make the music better, or the free speech better.

But not when we use the things that are antithetical without acknowledging them, without being willing to say, freely and without shame or defensiveness or trying to defend it, that what we are doing is wrong, and is an example of why we should not do so.

Because if we do not move past this, and we do not suddenly become one with each other, and cross those bridges *now*, then we will not reach the goal of changing this nation for the better, and undoing the harm being done right now.

We will instead, enable it.

It is with grave sadness and absolute seriousness that I have to mark myself as killed at the Bowling Green Massacre.

unfortunately, I am now both undead and amortal, and I have a hunger for orange hued things.